Changing banks can be a lengthy, time-consuming and trying experience. Between researching new banks and transferring both your funds and personal information you may be looking at an inconvenient process at best.

If you’re in the market for a new bank choose your financial institution with care. Don’t be in a hurry to change banks. Do your homework to find the right match.

Keep these 3 tips in mind before picking your next bank.

Build a Watch List

Shop around for a bit to find the right bank for your individual needs. Build a watch list of potential matches. Avoid settling on a bank after doing little research. By shopping around to build a watch list you can assess the pros and cons of each bank. Perhaps an institution offers you higher rates yet the commute is too long for your taste. Compare and contrast banks to keep your options open. Smart bank shoppers work through their list of potential suitors before making a final decision.  Pick a bank after doing patient research on various financial institutions.

Know Your Needs

Everybody has different banking preferences. Frequent travelers may demand a robust online presence including mobile ready apps for accessing their funds from around the world. A homebody would likely require less functionality but a nearby location to cut down any commute to the bank.

Each person has different requirements for a bank. List out your individual banking needs to do your homework from a place of clarity. Better understand what you need before you place your bank order or simply get clear on what you need so you can easily spot the bank which best fits your requirements.

Be picky. Don’t settle for a less than perfect match. List things that are critical to you on a piece of paper. Work off of that list as you visit local banks. Mortgages, investment opportunities, savings accounts and checking accounts may or may not be important to you and your family.  Whether you need insurance, direct deposit or loan consolidation services know your needs before shopping around to make your search easier.

An office employee may just be focused on deposit services while entrepreneurs may be more intrigued by lending possibilities.

Fee Homework

Expect varying fees from different banks. Small credit unions and banks may offer perks like free checking while large financial institutions may offer the option to wave monthly fees depending on certain circumstances. Do your homework to find a bank which doesn’t charge high rates if you can’t take the hit to your wallet.

Large banks may charge checking account fees to tackle the problem of revenue lost from overdraft fees. Smaller institutions generally experience these issues on a lesser scale. This means that most small banks charge no checking account fees.

Inquire into overdraft fees. Your bank may charge you a fee if you spend more money than you have in your checking account. Although organizations can’t charge you a fee unless you’re notified of the overdraft you should still ask questions about fee rates before you choose a bank.